Very Quick Review: SCIONS OF THE EMPEROR (Black Library)

HHP-ScionsOfTheEmperorA short collection of stories to add colour to some of the Primarchs

From their shadowed origins to the desperate battles that ensued when half of them rebelled against their father, the Sons of the Emperor – the vaunted primarchs – were among the greatest of humanity’s champions. They were warriors without peer and heroes whose deeds became legend. From a tale of Ferrus Manus in his earliest days to mysterious murders that lead Rogal Dorn into peril on the eve of the Siege of Terra, the eight tales in this volume lay bare key moments in the lives of these mighty heroes.

Canticle by David Guymer
The Verdict of the Scythe by David Annandale
A Game of Opposites by Guy Haley
Better Angels by Ian St Martin
The Conqueror’s Truth by Gav Thorpe
The Sinew of War by Darius Hinks
The Chamber at the End of Memory by James Swallow
First Legion by Chris Wraight

Each of these stories adds a bit of colour and depth to what we know about the Primarchs. There are eight stories, so they don’t cover all of the Emperor’s sons, but a good range is featured. I enjoyed these.

I think it’s safe to say that Scions of the Emperor is not an essential read, but only because it doesn’t do much to move the overall Horus Heresy story forward. Completists should absolutely pick it up, though, as should anyone who just wants to fill a Horus Heresy hole in their reading schedule — as we’re now in the final (publishing) stages of the war, and therefore fewer books in the series on the horizon, there are probably many who are jonesing for some more Heresy fiction (I include myself in this group).

The collection could also serve as a good introduction to some of these characters. For example, we get some great portraits of Jaghatai Khan and his sneaky way of war (“A Game of Opposites”), Sanguinius off the battlefield (“Better Angels”), Mortarion’s insecurities (“The Verdict fo the Scythe”), Guilliman’s nobility (“The Sinew of War”), the Night Lords’ horrific approach to conquest (“The Conqueror’s Truth”), and more. Each story illuminates an aspect of the Primarch in question’s character, and sometimes of those around them — the Blood Angels’ artistic side, for example, or the Dark Angels’ ingrained suspicion and fetish for secrecy and how that meshes and clashes with the Alpha Legion (“First Legion”). For those who love the more mysterious elements of WH40k lore, “The Chamber at the End of Memory” comes tantalizingly close to giving readers more information about the two lost Primarchs. There’s a good mix of action and introspection, intense and quiet moments.

I enjoyed this collection. Each story is well-written and adds something to the overall lore and/or our understanding of the characters. The collection isn’t essential, but it is a rather fine read. I hope there are more stories about the Primarchs in the offing — there are still a handful of novels still to come in the Primarchs spin-off series.


Scions of the Emperor is out now, published by Black Library in North America and in the UK.

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